He could be the most loved arguably, the most friendly of them all and most down to earth, Turkish Ambassador to Uganda Fikret Kerem Alp yesterday had a farewell dinner in his honour to conclude his four-year tour of duty in Uganda.
Fikret has made himself outstanding in Ugandan circles, he is known to many Ugandans as the ambassador who enjoys making his speeches in Luganda.
At the recently concluded Uganda-Turkey Business summit, Fikret wowed the audience in the presence of President Museveni when he went lyrical, releasing his speech in pure Luganda with the proper accent.
But that is not all, Fikret had stopped using his official car for duty, instead, he used some of his money to buy a Boda Boda TVS which he insisted on riding to the office and within the city.
Many have expressed how his simplicity and friendliness have impacted them.
It is for the same reasons that dinner was thrown in his honour by YUASA Investments Limited, a Pakistani automobile company in Nakawa, Kampala.
“He replies to every message on WhatsApp, even if you type in Luganda, he will reply immediately. He also picks up his phone instantly and talks to you as if you are at the same level,” one of the guests at the event told colleagues at a table
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen Jejje Abubaker Odongo praised Fikret’s simplicity and friendliness, urging that such traits ensured he united people.
Gen Odongo said that Fikret brought unity to the Turkish community across the country, and this was evident during the Eid Adha celebrations where all Turkish communities gathered to sacrifice, a program started by Fikret.
“Even in the East there, I can testify that the Turkish community there would slaughter at least 5000 cows. This is because of my brother Fikret,” he said.
“Fikret is very amiable and friendly, he has loved this country so much, it is very unfortunate that he a very good friend is leaving us. However, I would like to appoint him as the new ambassador of Uganda to the world,” he added.
In his speech, Fikret confirmed that he has been riding his Boda to office, because of the security in the country.
“I have found the security of Uganda very good from the time I came here. That is why I decided to buy my Boda Boda and ride to the office every day,” Fikret said, apologising to YUASA colleagues for not being a worthy client.
He thanked his Ugandan counterparts in the office for ensuring a smooth stay and toasted to a fruitful partnership between Turkey and Uganda.
The YUASA CEO Hasham Wahaib thanked Fikret for his warmth and friendliness, stating that he will miss “another brother in Kampala.”
He called upon government agencies to continue putting trust in YUASA to serve their automobile needs, urging that with the help of Fikret, the proceeds from the business have also helped charity events to eradicate poverty and uplift livelihoods.
Who is Fikret
Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993, he was a professional interpreter/translator and tourist guide for seven years.
He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and worked at the Department for International Organizations (Aviation and Maritime Affairs) until 1995. He did his military service in 1994 at the Turkish Air Force. From 1995 to 1997 he was Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Between 1997-2000 he served as the Third and Second Secretary at the Turkish Delegation to NATO/Brussels, where he covered a number of files including peacekeeping operations and civil emergency planning.
Between 2000-2002 he was the First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission of the Turkish Embassy in Kyiv/Ukraine.
Between 2002-2004 he served at the Office of the President of the Republic of Turkey as a foreign policy advisor.
Between 2004-2008 he joined the NATO International Staff in Brussels, Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, where he was responsible for relations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
In 2008 he returned to the MFA as Head of the Aviation Department. During this period, Turkey has finalized a record number of Air Services Agreements with other countries (including with international organizations such as the African Union and the EU).
In 2010, he was appointed Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Turkish Delegation to World Trade Organisation, UNCTAD and WIPO in Geneva. He was the Chairperson of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation in 2013.
Between 2014-2018 he was Deputy Director General for the Balkans and Central Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He is the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Kampala, Uganda, since December 2018.
Mr Alp has a bachelor's degree in International Relations, from Middle East Technical University, Ankara. He speaks Luganda, French, English, Italian (fluent) and Spanish (working level). He likes to practice motor and water sports. He is married with two children.